2015 Season Recap - July | Best Ontario Fishing

2015 Season Recap – July

Hands down, July is my favorite time of year. There is so much going on in July. Water temps are peaking at all time highs, bugs are minimal, weather is predictable, the days are long and, July’s most important trait–the walleye fishing–is RED HOT!

2015 was no different. We had a tremendous stabilization in the weather that afforded us days upon days of nothing but blue bird skies, above-average temps. and fishing that, as usual, was second to none. Especially the walleye fishing.

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Take the Famous Walleye Dream Trip for example. Annually, July marks the inaugural voyage of the season. Once midsummer settles in, Lake Nipigion walleyes head to their feeding sanctuaries, schooling up in mind-boggling herds that endlessly gorge themselves day and night. And with water levels a touch below average, the gates at the Ogoki Reservoir were continually diverting water to the basin of lake. In other words, we had uninterrupted access to walleye fishing bliss. Add to that Gus, the 2015 Pasha Lake expert guide, and you have a recipe for memories to be captured for eternity. And in true Gus fashion, he threw in some unexpected trophy pike fishing that delivered in a BIG TIME way.  Countless guests were treated to pike that far exceeded the 40” mark. One guest in particular, Tom Peterson, boated a 45” behemoth of a pike, coming within centimeters of my personal best. I guess 30 years of fishing Nipigon affords Gus a bit of an advantage few of us will experience in this life time.

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Also, remember back to May when I had a little snafu with my arm, forcing an unexpected surgery. That meant light duty for most of the summer. Light duty in July equals time out on the water for this guy! I picked one lake to focus on in my down time, and it paid off handsomely. Just ask my 4 year old daughter Carmyn. On one of our outings together, she hooked, fought, and landed a 29” walleye.  (Just this past weekend she reminded me once again of her achievement.) Quite the experience for a little girl! But what I loved about this lake exploration wasn’t the trophy potential, although it was obviously there. I much more enjoyed the remoteness, and abundant (average) walleye population that produced time and time again. It was a bugger to get to but well worth the efforts. Over the years, I’ve found exploration to be just as rewarding, if not more so, than actually boating the fish.

But I wasn’t the only one having July fishing success. In fact, what I am about to write is somewhat painful, but you’ll understand why I included it in a second. Onaman Lake, as sad as it seems, can experience a slowing midsummer bite. (Qualification: when compared to fishing in the lower 48, I’d take a slow bite on Onaman any day of the week). But this year, I can count on one hand the days guests came back and said they struggled on this walleye fishing factory. One hand, folks! That’s less than 5 fingers!  If there are 180 days of open water fishing on Onaman, that’s less than 3%. I’d hedge that bet anytime! 

2015 Season Recap - July | Best Ontario Fishing

A couple of groups come to mind when talking midsummer Onaman fishing. I’m reminded of the “Larrys”. They visited us during the 4th week in July, a time that traditionally can cause some anxiety with the active bite. But day after day, the boated record numbers of big walleyes like it was post spawn feeding time. In fact, they were so excited about the bite, they fished Onaman almost every day of their visit. We even had groups test the night bite. The Ojanen camping crew from Clouquet, MN, opted to stay out until 3am. Crazy as it sounds, they landed big numbers up until dark, and then things suddenly shut off. Making sure their theory wasn’t a fluke, they tried again later in the week with the same results. I guess the Onaman walleyes have to stop feeding at some point!

Want in a little known NW Ontario secret? The lake trout fishing in mid-July is often the best of the season. Water temps have maxed out which forces lakes to stratify. I’m no hydrologist, but fortunately I don’t have to be to know that when lakes layer, lakers will be concentrated around that 50 degree water mark. On some lakes, that could be 30ft down, on others 60ft. Regardless, if you can get your lure in that prime feeding zone, they’ll hit it like a lion taking down a gazelle. Long time guests Jonny Fickert and his dad know this all too well. That’s why they opt for a mid July trip year in and year out.

2015 Season Recap - July | Best Ontario Fishing

As sad as it is for this guy, July too must come to an end. When that happens, there is one thing I look forward to about as much as July fishing. My Christmas come early if you will? August, here we come!

Remember to always give more than you take, and until next time… 

2015 Season Recap - June - Best Ontario Fishing

2015 Season Recap – June

Recalling early June, I remember cool May rains bleeding well into the first weeks of the month. In a typical year, we welcome longer days and warmer weather, but this year was super slow to change. It was a stark contradiction to how May started. In one sense, it was great because it kept the bug hatch in check. Unfortunately, though, it also made for some, let’s say, chilly fishing conditions for those with opposite hopes. 

2015 Season Recap - June - Best Ontario Fishing

One lake in particular posed a big challenge. Historically it’s been a good early walleye bite. Its massive size and deep structures have always been a personal favorite of mine. And you never know what you’re setting the hook on–be it a walleye, laker, perch or patrolling northern pike. Big lakes also produce big fish, so there’s always that lingering possibility.

But this year, early June guests struggled on this usually go-to heavy hitter. Recalling my theory from late May, I think the fast warming then cooling water temps kept the fish from their usual post spawn feeding routine. In fact, and not unusual, guests were catching walleyes still milting from the spawn. However the same size males caught in different locations had been dry for awhile, evidenced by their healed underside. Now that was unusual.

Our regulars, however, knew it was just a matter of time. In the past, I’ve described it as the “light switch” scenario. When it seems like the bite will never pick up and weather is doomed to eternal sourness, BOOM! It happens. The skies clear and what might’ve been a dismal bite 24 hours ago instantly turns into fishing ecstasy. Walleyes go from motionless, lock-jaw vegans to furious, blood thirsty, carnivore-eating beasts. No matter what you throw or where you fish (within reason of course), the post-spawn feeding frenzy comes alive. It’s cool, and if timed right, will be some of the best walleye fishing of the season.

2015 Season Recap - June - Best Ontario Fishing

Year after year, that fact is echoed in the famous Onaman Lake. On some level, you’d think I’d build up a tolerance to this prolific body of water, but it has yet to happen. For me, Christmas come early is June 1st, when this astounding walleye factory opens to angling. And true to form, this year was one for the record books. Time and time again, angler after unsuspecting angler came back with what I now call “the look” – they’ve been Onaman’ed! It’s a term I’ve coined to explain the look on someone’s face after spending the day there. It’s a cross between permagrin and sheer terror sprinkled with genuine amazement. Think of someone finding out they won the 10 million dollar Powerball while sitting in Sunday mass. It’s reserved, but an unmistakable look of pure elation. 

Speaking of Onaman, I am thoroughly convinced this body of water is the PREMIERE walleye destination of Ontario, if not Canada. It’s simply a factory for producing big, ferocious, fighting walleyes. Man I love that lake!

Another neat phenomenon that occurred this year involved aggressively feeding brook trout that was, in a sense, timeless. On a typical year I encourage trout anglers to plan their trips from May to the first week in June. It’s a time when the trout are shallow and with increasing water temps, they feed heavily.  A nice bonus to the early bite is where you find one, more are sure to follow. While true to form for 2015, the opportunity to fish these magnificent specimens ended up lasting all summer. That’s pretty surprising and very uncommon. I know of one guest that fishes Nipigon every weekend. He too was surprised by the all-season bite and took full advantage of it. He boated some impressive midsummer specks, a feat not historically achievable. 

2015 Season Recap - June - Best Ontario Fishing

Did somebody say trophy Canadian pike? Michelle orders 2 dozen Pasha Lake Trophy Club Hats every year. For those of you not familiar with the club, we give a free hat to anglers who catch, photograph and release trophy fish. By late June, I had Michelle place an emergency hat order with our supplier. People had boated so many big pike, we were down to our last 2 hats. 

Evidently the lingering cool water, while frustrating for some walleye anglers, kept the big pike catchable as ever. Customarily, June water makes conditions uncomfortable for shallow pike. This year, they were able to hang out a bit longer, affording our guests paparazzi opportunities typically reserved for “A list” movie stars.

2015 Season Recap - June - Best Ontario Fishing

But every good June must come to end. For me, that means my favorite time of year was just around the corner….

(Introducing my new and improved sign off) – Always be sure to give more than you take. Until next time…

2015 Season Recap Best Ontario Fishing

2015 Season Recap

Hey everybody, long time no write. I apologize to all the BOF followers out there for my noticeable sabbatical from writing. The season at Pasha Lake was like nothing we’ve ever experienced, requiring all hands on deck to keep up the pace. Between a new cabin renovation, finishing a walk-in cooler, guiding, and bear and moose hunters, it afforded me little time to write. That will change going forward. 

That brings me to this blog post. What follows is a season recap where I hope to capture the different happenings, thought processes, and preparation that will help you prepare for 2016. But at the same time, I want to indulge a little on all the wonder of 2015. It was quite the season, and I’m proud to say we helped many guests experience the best northwest Ontario has to offer!

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May

Uncharacteristically warm weather blanketed NW Ontario and the Pasha Lake Region from the end of April through May. For me, it was a doubled-edged sword. On one hand, it allowed us to break ground early on the newly renovated Cabin #6. But on the other hand, I was forced to cancel my annual turkey hunt. I needed every second I could muster devoted to the construction project. Good for the turkeys, bad for me. 

For you as the angler, though, it was the opportunity we haven’t seen since 2012, where Rob Sinning and I fished the last 3 days of 2012 walleye season (in April mind you) from boats.  (We captured that experience in this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4b4qNb5pXXY). This year, around May 7th, the ice began receding to the point we could float a boat. Anglers who braved the frigid water temps–especially on Pasha Lake–were treated to aggressively feeding lake trout. And, although the walleye season was would be closed for another 2 weeks, the pike were coming off their spawn and easily targeted as well. 

It was so warm in early May that I remember one night sitting on the deck of what was to become the new Cabin #6 dining room, and being bitten by mosquitoes the size of sparrows. It was very pleasant, except for the bugs of course.  It was also a welcome change from the previous 2 years and helped set the tone for the fantastic season ahead.

As the month wore on, walleye season soon opened, but with that the skies turned an ominous gray. Typical to May, the changing temps brought the first rains of the year along with unstable pressure.  That forced us to reach for warm clothes and rain gear more often then we would’ve liked. As the lingering rains hung around, what started out as a promising walleye outlook soon turned to frustration and questions. Unless you had experience in your corner, finding marble eye action was tough, even for us veterans of the area. 

Looking back, it was the fluctuating water temps that kept us guessing. Early May freed us from the ice with rapidly warming water. But mid-May brought a screeching halt to that, thereby bringing mass discombobulation to a pattern-able walleye bite. I remember being frustrated a lot. 

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The brook trout fishing, on the other hand, wasn’t nearly as impacted by weather as the walleye bite.  Famous Lake Nipigon lived up to its legendary status, producing more and bigger trout than we’d seen in sometime. What’s even better is the red hot bite lasted all summer. That’s something we haven’t seen before. Definitely a welcome surprise. 

Just ask Dave and Jeff (Michigan). Dave managed to achieve a lifelong goal when he boated his biggest brook trout ever. Jeff chose to focus on lake trout and discovered something new on a select few shallow reefs. Lakers were in less than 5 feet of water and hammering lures like midsummer large mouth. That’s the first time I remember anyone finding that type of Nipigon laker bite (other than fall) in water less than 10ft. 

But as the saying goes in NW Ontario – if you don’t like the weather, just wait a minute or two and it’ll change. Change it did, and as we closed out May, we knew stable weather lay ahead and inevitably the walleyes would go from lazy to hostile on the flip of a switch.  It was just a matter of time.

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More to come, so until next time…

Chad

lake onaman fishing new girls on the block

New Girls on the Block

By Scott Turner

Lake Onaman–Round 1

Trying to wait out the weather again seemed to be a good idea on a windy, rainy morning. By lunchtime, cabin fever was kicking in and mother nature had settled down to a nice steady mist. Seemed like the perfect time to get things on the move.

I loaded up the truck full of gear, the girls jumped in, and we were on to a very anticipated adventure to the legendary Lake Onaman. My crew today was going to consist of two 15 year olds– my oldest Jessica and her best friend Chloe–with my youngest, 12 year old Jacqueline. If we weren’t going to catch any fish, they were going to look good trying!

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After a “brisk” walk to the lake (they are track and field athletes and I am no longer one), we were ready to tie into some of the great fish that we had been telling Chloe about.

On our way to the main lake, we pulled up along side and chatted with a couple of other Pasha guests that were fishing only a few minutes from the boat launch. This group of two boats was having some pretty good success both casting and jigging. I had thought of staying there but past successes of the main body of the lake had me on the throttle again.

The gentle breeze that we enjoyed while walking through the woods ended up turning into some solid two foot plus waves the wind-swept shoreline I desired. I tried a few spots that I could safely get to while keeping everyone in good spirits. Several moves and several different presentations just couldn’t get a bite going for us. I just couldn’t hold good boat position in the wind–and boat control is just so important. In the wind, I felt even if we did get into a good bite with these young anglers they may not be able to detect a hit, opting instead to head back to the shelter of the islands and bays close to the launch.

My fellow Pasha guest were still fishing so I decided to try a couple of drifts at a respectable distance from our new found friends. I have found over the years that Pasha guests are more than happy to give you any intel they may have to help you catch a few more fish. Is it the good people that come here or is it that there are just so many fish? I think it is a whole lot of both!

Chloe–or shall I refer to her as “Chloe the Walleye Slayer”–got into them first. Two drifts and she had three fish. I had everyone on different colors. Chloe was using a hot pink and white Northland Oddball Jig. Funny enough on the next drift so was everyone else!

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Chloe the Walleye Slayer

I always try and put everyone in the boat on a different color presentation to start to increase our odds on find that right color. The first fish gets my attention, and the second one on that same colors makes me take action. I picked up that tip while sitting in a seminar of another repeat guest of Pasha Lake Cabins, Mark Romanack of Fishing 411.

After a bit of a soaking, the rain stopped to our relief. The crew had boated a few fish, the bite was not bad at all, and things were looking pretty good. Then the bite stopped, I changed colors again for everyone, moved my drift a bit and still nothing. We were fishing in shallow water at about 7 feet so maybe the motor spooked them? I can’t answer why it happened; it just did. And I was not about to waste any time trying to figure it out. Time to move again!

I have a great amount of patience or very little depending how you look at it. I will fish all day but seldom in the same spot if the fish are not biting consistently. This quirk served us well as we stopped at two more spots that afternoon. The first one served us nothing so we only stayed there for ten minutes.

That old secret to successful fishing “fish where the fish are” is an adage of mine. My crew was growing cold from the earlier rain, so I knew I had a limited amount of time left. We headed to a small wind-swept island.

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Now by small I would say it was the size of a tennis court. What I liked about the look of it was there no waves crashing into it and the water was flat calm for about 10 feet. I thought two things: little bit of depth and easy boat control. We pulled into our spot, quickly killed the motor, and dropped back in our hot pink minnow tipped jigs. Within two minutes we had our first fish hooked.

My youngest, Jacqueline, had not landed a fish yet, and I was really hoping she would get into one here. Things lined up perfectly for Jacqueline and she caught the biggest fish of her life, a beautiful 26” Onaman Walleye. Once the commotion was over, Jacqueline–still grinning–laid down her rod
and said “I’m good.” I asked her if she was going to fish any more and she just looked me in the eyes with a smile and said “nope.” I think a lot of us could take a lesson there. The joy of catching that one fish had made her day and she didn’t want to change it. At least that’s what I made of it but I never did ask her.

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Jackie with her big walleye

We boated a dozen fish within half an hour of this spot when I noticed the girls were all starting to shiver, and I knew it was time to head in–regardless of the walleye still having their feedbags on. The remarkable thing about this spot was we were consistently getting bit in only five feet of water.

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Is anybody having a good time on this boat?

Mother Nature was definitely challenging everyone on this day. The walk back to the truck, the fish, and the laughs and memories simply just added to this successful adventure.

About Scott Turner: I have been married for 18 years to my wife, Tracey, and we have two talented and beautiful daughters, Jessica (15) and Jacqueline (12), as well as Sadie, our German Shorthair Pointer. I am currently the president of the Greater Windsor Track & Field Club which includes 200 youth athletes.

A conservative estimate of the days I spend afield would be in the neighborhood of 200, spread between fishing, hunting and trapping. I would have to say my favorite fish to pursue would be the one that is biting the best! I consider myself a generalist, I fish whatever species I can when I can. I am very excited to be a member of Pasha Lake’s Pro-Staff team. My goal is to fish as many lakes in the region as possible and report back to you. I hope some of my experiences at Pasha Lake Cabins help enhance your next trip or maybe encourages you to come up and try Pasha Lake Cabins for the first time. It’s a trip you will not regret. 

Follow me on Twitter: @turnerscott2009

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Not a Bust

By Scott Turner

A few weeks back, I asked my 15 year old daughter, Jessica, “How many fish do you want to catch when we go to Pasha?”

Her response: “100.”

“So, 15 a day Jessica?“

She quickly replied back, “That’s not very many for up there!”

We both had a laugh and carried on our business.

Well, after watching the rain for the better part of the first day at Pasha Lake, Jessica, her friend Chloe, and I thought we should give it a try around 3 o’clock. Jacqueline, my youngest at almost 13, decided to stay dry along with my wife, Tracey, back at the cabin. A fairly persistent drizzle was still happening, so we opted to head to a little “boat in” gem right out Pasha’s back door step. I had been to this spot a couple of years ago so I was pretty excited to get back there again.

With a short portage into this little back lake and armed with our Panther Martin spinners, we were ready for the hot action I had encountered there before. Now what do I mean by hot action? I would estimate I averaged about a bite every third cast. Our quarry was to be the brook trout–not monsters like you find on Lake Nipigon, but quantity was almost assured.

Famous last words? “Assured.”

I guess it should have been more like never count your chickens… you get the idea. After 2 hours of fishing we had amassed 6 trout in the boat. Now don’t get me wrong–we missed quite a few fish that we had some chances with. However, many of us would count this outing a bust.

The girls where getting cold and wanted to head back to the warmth of the cabin. I didn’t want to push the envelope with them by staying out in the elements, so we headed back.

After dinner, the weather broke. I spoke to Chad and we thought I should take another shot at it. I had seen a couple of nice fish rising on our first venture so I had to give it a second chance.

I was just about to push off when a young man named CJ (Chad & Michelle’s oldest) ran up and asked if I was going to fish because “he does some guiding on Pasha Lake.”  I told him I was going to a different lake, but I asked for a couple of points on Pasha which he was more than happy to offer. When I informed CJ where I was heading off to, he told me he had never fished it before and asked if he could come with me. I said of course but he would have to ask his parents first–I was happy to have the company.

I have to say I have not seen a kid move that fast in quite a while!  Within minutes CJ was running towards me at full tilt, fishing pole in hand, and his life jacket ready.

The result, one brook trout caught by my new buddy CJ! I think the changing pressure was just too much for the brookies at this point.

When we were heading back CJ said something that really stuck with me “thanks for taking me, I had a really good time.”

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Now this may be easy to say or sound like a cover up because we didn’t catch a lot, but these three kids actually had a good time not catching that many fish. My daughter and Chloe were laughing with or at each other most of the time they were in the boat. As a bonus Chloe, caught her first ever brook trout and could not believe how beautiful they actually are.

CJ had the opportunity to tell an adult about the sports he plays, the fish he has caught, and his plans to bring his brother back to this spot. The boys cleaned up on the trout later during the week. CJ and I heard wolves calling and a moose crashing through the bush so loud it sounded like a bulldozer.

I have definitely caught more fish on other Pasha Lake Cabins adventures, but I didn’t really mind because we all had a really good time! The time is worth it, everyone. The adventure is more than worth it. Get out and take a kid fishing.

About Scott Turner: I have been married for 18 years to my wife, Tracey, and we have two talented and beautiful daughters, Jessica (15) and Jacqueline (12), as well as Sadie, our German Shorthair Pointer. I am currently the president of the Greater Windsor Track & Field Club which includes 200 youth athletes.

A conservative estimate of the days I spend afield would be in the neighborhood of 200, spread between fishing, hunting and trapping. I would have to say my favorite fish to pursue would be the one that is biting the best! I consider myself a generalist, I fish whatever species I can when I can. I am very excited to be a member of Pasha Lake’s Pro-Staff team. My goal is to fish as many lakes in the region as possible and report back to you. I hope some of my experiences at Pasha Lake Cabins help enhance your next trip or maybe encourages you to come up and try Pasha Lake Cabins for the first time. It’s a trip you will not regret. 

Follow me on Twitter: @turnerscott2009

 

extreme heat, pasha bliss, impending bear season

Extreme heat, Pasha bliss, and impending bear season

This week at Pasha Lake Cabins:

  • Extreme heat plays on the walleye bite
  • Johnsons, Zion, and the Foutch/Chesnek group find Pasha bliss
  • Bear Season opens August 15 – baits are being destroyed

As I sit here accessing the archives of my, most times, fogging mind, I noticed some internet chatter on techniques to combat a slow August walleye bite. I couldn’t help but smirk, for the last week and a half, we too have noticed a change. It seems this insanely hot weather has shaken things up everywhere. Once-easy-to-find walleyes have decidedly made it more challenging for our novice guests. Add to that extreme temperatures that have constantly threatened triple digits and you have a recipe for challenged angling. Allow me to explain.

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One of the tantalizing appeals of fishing the Pasha Lake Region of Ontario is the ease that comes with finding and catching fish. You can take the most inexperienced angler, throw them in a boat, and within hours have them catching fish like a pro. The reason? Quite simply, there is an over-abundance of fish in our waters.

But what happens when that historical ease at which we catch fish changes? What happens when simple techniques, like the old reliable jig and minnow, start to lose their luster? What happens when guests who lack one or more years of experience on our waters begin to struggle?

The answer? We dissect the activities of those who’ve “been there and done that”. This week, we look at three stand out groups that have made it their mission to beat the heat and boat the fish.  To that end, they have excelled!

Bob Johnson and his family have been coming here for years. More specifically, they are on the every other year program and have been so since we took ownership. During our discussions, it doesn’t take long before they reminisce about fishing and adventures from previous trips. It’s hard to mistake their feeling of excitement and joy when their laughter fills the room. And this year is no different, despite any heat Mother Nature could throw at them. In 2015, they took their travels to, among other lakes, the Walleye Dream Trip and none other than Onaman Lake.

It was a beautiful Monday when the Johnsons departed for Lake Nipigon. Gus the Guide was amped up and ready to go.  He was also dishing out some pretty good early morning ribbings, as is his MO. After a scenic NW Ontario drive, they jumped in the big boat and aimed to their destination waters that were recently boiling with hungry walleyes. Upon arrival at one of the hot spots, these guys started boating fish like their arms were on fire. Dang near every cast, they either hooked a fish or missed one trying. As the day wore on and arms grew tired, they asked Gus if they could get a break and try to troll for the trophy pike Nipigon is famous for. Reluctantly, Gus agreed, and they headed to a channel that historically held some monsters. In true Nipigon fashion, it didn’t take long before the first pike was hooked and the “ooos and ahhs” of seeing huge fish filled the air. The rest of the day was spent in search of big pike and once the hooked a girthy 38.5 incher, disappointed they were not.

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Proving their methods weren’t a fluke, the Johnsons decided to give Onaman a whirl. It had been some time since they’d fished it and heard how red hot the bite was. Red hot doesn’t even begin to describe the days fishing as the walleyes bent their rods to the breaking point. And all that despite a ferocious wind that had the main lake engulfed in 6 foot waves! The wind was so bad that the Johnsons didn’t even leave the shelter of the main bay where the boats are stashed. They found a reef polluted with walleyes and proceeded to hammer it for the next 6 hours. The bite never let up!

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Enter Dustin Foutch and Brad and Brett Chesnek. Dustin is the brother-in-law of new Pasha Lake Pro-staffer Justin Bonvallet (more on him in later posts) and has stayed with us once before. Brad and Brett were greenhorns and had no idea what the Pasha experience was all about. Their trip this year was a retirement gift for their dad, in honor of his retirement as a underground coal miner. They too choose to try their hand at the Walleye Dream Trip and their decision couldn’t have been better.

This time, instead of Gus, it was yours truly that was the day’s boat operator. I admit I had to brush off the rust since it had been sometime since running the boat. Nothing like 4 footers on Nipigon to help get me back in the groove of things; love that Lake Nipigon.

Once we survived (that’s not a fabrication) the waves that’d soaked every hair follicle on our heads to our toes, we tossed the anchor and took a couple of deep breaths. The euphoria of calm river water and peaceful scenery soon gave way to hoot’in and hollering as walleyes started to bend rods like tree twigs in a tornado. Every time I turned around, someone was yelling “fish on!” And in one of the trip highlights, Brett’s rod slumped over in the unmistakable shape that only a pike can pull off. He fought the 38.5” fatty like a true champ and once landed, it set the tone for the rest of the day! It was good to be back in the driver’s seat!

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Then there is Zion Lutheran Church out of Anoka, Minnesota–my alma mater. 2015 marks their 8th year here and experience has taught them well. Brad Jacobson had his personal best, landing two 28 inch Ontario walleye in as many days. In fact, one of the days I had mistakenly double booked Brad’s chosen lake and sheepishly asked if he’d give up his boat. In true Brad style, a little shaken but being the nice fella he is, is choked out the words “no problem” and off to his new lake he went. Lucky he did because he was treated to the heart pounding, fighting action of one of his big fish. Not surprising how his decision paid off big by being the generous guy he is.

Wrapping things up for this report, I have to apologize. We are in complete ramp-up mode for the pending August 15th black bear opener, and as always, my reports fall a tad behind. The saving grace is the baits are getting destroyed (as usual) as we are poised for another record-breaking harvest. Not to mention the weather has broken from the extreme heat and the bugs are nearly nonexistent. It continues to be a great summer around here and a good time to belong to the Pasha Lake club of awesome guests.

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I do have another report from late July that I’ll try to publish shortly. If not, I’ll throw it in the archives for this winter.

Stay tuned–we are stepping it up another notch!

Until next time…

Chad

ontario northern pike

We’re still here!

Hey everyone – we are still here. We have some BIG groups in camp at Pasha Lake Cabins this week and bear baiting has started, so computer time has been limited. I’m working on a more comprehensive Ontario fishing report now, but it will be a few days before I’m ready to publish.

But here’s the short report. The heat is having an impact on the fishing; however, guests are still finding fish. Walleye Dream Trip is absolutely amazing, as is Onaman. Bear baiting has started now too, and there are plenty of upgrades happening around camp.

Talk soon…

Chad

Fishing at Pasha Lake Cabins

Onaman Lake, Walleye Dream Trip Results, and Updating an Old Technique

In the news this week for our weekly report,

  • Onaman continues to WOW!
  • Caleb’s first true walleye outing
  • Walleye Dream Trip results are in
  • Updating an old technique

“We’ll take Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and if you can sneak it in, we’ll go out there Wednesday as well!” Those were the tongue-in-cheek remarks from Darwin Vicker and his crew of “Larrys” when they arrived on Saturday. Although they were half-way kidding, if we could’ve arranged it, they would have fished Onaman Lake every single day. 

Folks, I don’t want to beat a head horse here, but I can’t find any other way to describe it. The fishery at Onaman Lake is absolutely thriving, and anyone with a pulse and desire to fish Canada has to experience it.

Onaman Lake is simply the best, most productive, walleye fishery in Ontario–period! It’s fisherman’s paradise, a world class, big fish producing, action-packed factory of walleye fun. Is anyone catching my drift here?

To reinforce my point (as if all the pictures don’t do so), let me tell you about the latest cold front to hit the Pasha Lake region. On Monday afternoon, we went from the mid 80’s to a low of 42 overnight. The cold front brought severe weather, a north east wind (bad), and a temperature drop that’d make an Eskimo shiver. Despite the cold front, which normally leaves walleye lockjaw, Onaman Lake wouldn’t be shaken. Darwin and the Larrys headed out Tuesday morning, admittedly with anxiety over what the front had done. With Sunday’s earth-shattering success fresh in their memory banks, they were seek a repeat performance. They were not disappointed. By mid day, they were slamming walleyes, and lingering anxiety was soon gone. The biggest of the day was a beefy 28 inch with several stretching beyond the 25 inch range.

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“76 inches in 3 fish!” said Bob.  

I instantly started doing the math in my head, and after the smoke cleared I blurted out, “That’s 26 inch average! That’s unreal!”

Bob Tahtinen has been coming to Pasha Lake for over 15 years, and the trophy board in his garage proves it. Bob has captured all his Pasha memories and dedicated a wall of memorabilia in garage that includes maps, bottle caps, Canada flags, broken gear, trophy club hats, tshirts and–my personal favorite–pictures of guests, both present and those who’ve passed. It’s pretty cool.

It should come as no surprise then that Bob slam dunked the big walleyes again this week. In one outing, he found the fish relating to rippled sand not too far from deep water access. Bob told me he trolled around until he started marking fish, especially bigger returns on his graph. Once located, he tossed his lure on top of their head and it was on like “Donkey Kong.” Bob’s lure of choice? A simple slip sinker, followed by a spin & glow and fat, juicy crawler dragged tantalizingly slow. Unsuspecting marble eyes simply couldn’t handle it and smashed his lure like a grapefruit. On that day, this rig yielded him a 26 inch average walleye in a span of about 10 minutes. Looking at the pictures of him holding his prize catches, you can tell he was one happy man. Congrats Bob! Hope to see you back this fall.  

Caleb! Where do I start? For those of you new to Pasha Lake, we have a very special child in our family. Caleb is our second child and suffers from a very rare chromosome disorder. While not life-threatening, his development is significantly delayed and his comprehension of the world unique. That’s not to say that his heart isn’t big. Quite the contrary, he finds joy in pretty much everything he does (definitely a lesson we could all benefit from). And don’t be surprised if he gives you a big bear hug when you arrive on our door step.  

Last Sunday, I took Caleb on his first father-son fishing outing. Of course he’d be fishing before that, but not one on one with just his Pops. It wasn’t long before we laced into our first 17 inch walleye on Atitgogama. From then on, it was a barrage of fish after fish. Caleb was the score keeper and wanted to contribute all his catch to the Tuesday night fish fry. He did just that last week, and everyone in attendance got to hear about it. Way to go Caleb!  

It’s official! The Walleye Dream Trip has arrived. The inaugural trip took place with Darwin and the Larrys last week. It was only a half-day test trip that still boated hundreds of fish. Since then, the trip has boasted a 300 walleye average with several guests incidentally landing trophy pike. On a trip that took place yesterday, newbie Erwin Hurlbut (a self proclaimed non-fisherman) not only landed over a 100 walleyes he also snafu’ed the highlight of the trip: a jaw-dropping 41 inch trophy northern. And this is just the beginning. Stay tuned to this one folks, because we’ve only just begun to report this. You can anticipate several more earth-shattering tidbits as we roll on throughout the rest of the 2015 season.

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New fishing technique? Most people who follow us know how I feel about trolling. I’d rather dig a ditch with a spoon than wash lures while trolling. But worse than trolling is being one dimensional, so I’ve reluctantly given in to learning this technique. I do, however, have my stipulations. Read on.

Over the past few years, I’ve watched Bob Herweyer and his crew employ a technique that’s fascinating to me. Quite simply, he ties on a spinner, and rather than bottom bounce, he trolls the lure. Most times, he doesn’t use weight, but if a situation calls for it, he simply clips on a few split shot and away he goes. He also plays with the size of the spinning blades, sometimes exchanging smaller blades for bigger ones to gain depth. The optimum trolling speed is 1 – 1.3 miles an hour and, judging by the quality and quantity of fish they catch, it works surprisingly well. 

After studying his technique for a few seasons, I found myself getting more and more inspired to try it.  Then, after hurting my arm and with my subsequent light duty restrictions, I figured the opportunity was upon me. This season more than any other, I’ve spent time “fun fishing,” locating new holes, and in this case, trying new techniques.

It’s been a month now since I started playing with it seriously, and the results are starting to gain clarity. I’ve found that, while this is still considered trolling, it’s not the typically rod watching that I hate. Using Bob’s Ontario trolling technique, I’m still able to hold the rod and feel the fish when they strike. The thrill of knowing the bite is coming is pretty darn cool. It’s the anticipation, so to speak. Then once they do slam it, most of the time the fish hook themselves. Only occasionally do they need a little hook-sinking courtesy of a quick snap of the rod.

Overall, though, I still have a ways to go to perfect the technique. I haven’t noticed a bigger overall average fish (like I have with the Carolina technique) nor a faster action bite. If fish are concentrated, I have to fight the urge to tie on a jig and go “hammer time” and I get a little frustrated not knowing my exact depth. All this is probably lack of skill development or current conditions. 

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Time to wrap up this week’s report. To sum things up, weather is great, fishing even better, guests are happy, and that makes me REALLY happy!  Looking forward, the Walleye Dream Trip will be the topic for many weeks to come–believe it or not–bear hunting starts in a little over a month. Folks, things are good in the Pasha Lake region of Ontario, rest assured!

Until next time…

Fishing at Pasha Lake Cabins

Dog Days of Summer & the Fishing Is Prime

The dog days of summer may be here, but the fishing adventures continue in epic proportions. There’s more to come on the blog this week (but what can we say–we’ve been having the time of our lives on the water) so stay tuned for a fishing report, more fishing stories, tips for summer fishing in Ontario, and awesome fishing photos from Pasha Lake Cabins guests. Til then, enjoy these amazing photos.

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The dog days of summer sure don’t bring these adventurers down. In fact, summertime is a great time to head to Pasha Lake, Onaman Lake, or any of the other prime fish habitats in Ontario and catch some beautiful fish.

From walleyes to northern pike, the best Ontario fishing is still to be had for those willing to get in a boat and try. Summer fishing Ontario lakes calls for different plans of attack in order to get the fish to take that bite, but that just adds to the challenge and experience.

Do you fish in July? Where and for what species? What are some of your tried-and-true tactics for finding and landing fish in the middle of summer? Share in the comments below and we might just feature your story on our facebook page!

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Weekly Report {June 27, 2015}

Quick question: how do you go from having never fished a day in your life to catching 28 inch walleyes, hooking highly sought after (rare!) splake, and snagging toothy pike in mind-boggling numbers? Very simple–just stay a week at Pasha Lake Cabins

Until Saturday last week, Dave Oplett from Illinois had never fished a day in his life. It’s highly likely he didn’t know what end of the fishing rod to use. That changed last Saturday when his brother Scott (12 year frequent flyer of Pasha Lake Cabins) and he arrived on our door step. I could tell right away Scott was anxious to get his brother on Ontario fish and, more importantly, wanted him to experience why people come back here year after year.

So where do you send a newbie that’s never hooked a fish in his life? Another simple one: Onaman Lake. Within minutes of hitting the water, the brothers started pounding awesome Ontario fish like pop cans. And it didn’t matter what they threw, the walleyes were as aggressive as they’ve been all year. It also didn’t matter what the weather conditions were. Last week’s weather mainly consisted of high skies and no wind. Yet the walleyes were up in the weeds, frequently breaking the mirror like surface in hot pursuit of any tantalizing lure these guys threw. By far, it was the best and most effective way to break in Greenhorn Oplett.

As if that weren’t enough, Scott came to me mid-week asking about splake. It’s a species he’s heard a lot about but never targeted in all his years here. So we checked the weather and picked the best day for the new adventure. It took him a little while to find the lake, and then some trial and error in locating fish. But, once they figured out the fish were close to shore and a simple spinner with half a crawler is all they wanted, it was game on.  I don’t think Scott realized how aggressive splake are. He was surprised at the tenacity of even the little ones. Despite hooking more fish than they thought possible, they threw pretty much everything back, not realizing the smaller ones are like eating candy. They did keep a nice 17 incher for table fare.

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“A long time.” That’s about the only way to describe the Barry Brubaker and Scott Culver group from Minnesota. These guys have been coming here forever; I think a little bit before dirt was invented. And this year, they brought with them Barry’s brother, Dave, from California. Just like brother Dave Oplett from the stories mentioned above, brother Scott was treated to all the best Pasha Lake has to offer. In a conversation just this morning, Dave was so grateful for the experience of the group. He said fishing with Scott was like having a built-in guide service. Scott has obviously been able to nail down some mad skills during his tenure here–skills he put to good use this past week. 

In fact, I have to get a little smile on my face. These guys have a local lake figured out like nobody else. For me, the lake is my personal top 10 list, but for some reason it can be a head scratcher to other guests. That was true again this week after a different group abandoned ship after just a half day trying to figure it out. Less than 24 hours later, Barry, Scott, and the rest of the crew hit pay dirt, fed their crew of 6 a man’s size shore lunch, and had enough left over to contribute handsomely to the weekly fish fry. 

Take these guys and put them on Onaman Lake, and have mercy!  It’s almost unfair–to the fish that is. Barry likes to call or email me a couple of times prior to their arrival. He wants to make sure their traditional two days of Onaman fishing are reserved well in advance. This year was no exception. Their catches included walleyes of 28’s, 27’s, 26’s and list on.  They told me of one 25 inch fish that was as round as it was long. Oh so true of the Onaman walleye!

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Four lakers and a trophy 40.5 inch Lake Nipigon Swamp Gator.  That was the part of the day’s bag limit after Mike Fry and his two sons spent an afternoon with Gus on the big lake (Lake Nipigon, that is). It seems while everyone else struggled to find the lakers, Gus was able to find the sweet spot yet again. So much so that they had a fish hooked less than a minute after dropping the first cannon ball. Three more into the boat shortly afterward and the Fry crew was very happy. Unfortunately, the required barbless hook regulation challenged the two youngsters; they lost two before Gus could get the net under them.  After a few hours of trolling, they headed to shallow water where the trophy pike was landed.

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Great weather, even better fishing, happy guests, and continued same for midsummer weeks ahead. As I write this, we are already midweek into another spectacular fishing marathon, and our guests couldn’t be happier. The smiles and the stories at last night’s weekly fish fry said it all!

Headed to the Walleye Dream Trip tomorrow if the weather holds. Happy Canada day for you hardcore “eh” sayers and Happy 4th of July to our U.S. anglers! 

Until next time…